Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Suspect Arrested in White House Shooting Probe

November 16, 2011 7:29 PM

White House gun suspect said to hate Obama

Updated at 7:28 p.m. ET

WASHINGTON - A man wanted in an investigation of shots fired near the White House was arrested Wednesday in the state of Pennsylvania, a day after agents discovered two bullets had struck the executive mansion while President Barack Obama was away, the U.S. Secret Service said.

The Secret Service said it discovered Tuesday that the two bullets had hit the White House, one of them apparently cracking a window on the level of the president's living quarters, while Obama and his wife Michelle were on a trip to California and Hawaii.

The discovery of bullet holes followed reports of gunfire near the White House on Friday night. An assault rifle and an abandoned vehicle were found Friday, which led authorities to disclose they had linked Oscar Ramiro Ortega-Hernandez to the reported gunfire.

CBS News correspondent Bob Orr reports ballistics tests are being run to match the bullets found at the White House with the rifle. Prosecutors say they're considering charges of attempted assassination, even though the incident presented no threat to the president.

Ortega, 21, was arrested Wednesday afternoon by Pennsylvania authorities at a hotel in the southwest part of the state, the Secret Service said. He was in Pennsylvania State Police custody. A tip from someone who saw and identified Ortega led to his arrest, Secret Service spokesman George Ogilvie said.

Sources tell CBS News Ortega-Hernandez was not on the radar of the Secret Service before Friday's shooting. But investigators believe he may have targeted the White House due to a hatred of President Obama. Businessman Monte McCall, said Ortega-Hernandez compared the president to the "Antichrist" when they met recently.

"He seemed very sincere in what he believed but seemed rather troubled," McCall said.

Ortega did not resist arrest, said Pennsylvania State Trooper Lt. Brad Shilds. He will make his first court appearance Thursday in Pittsburgh, according to the staff of U.S. Magistrate Judge Cynthia Reed Eddy.

Ortega is from Idaho Falls, Idaho, and was reported missing Oct. 31 by his family. On Friday morning, he was stopped by police in a Washington suburb after officers were called for a report of a suspicious person. Police took photos of him but did not have any reason to arrest him, according to police Lt. Joe Kantor.

Ortega has an arrest record in three states but has not been linked to any radical organizations, U.S. Park Police have said.

Witnesses on Friday reported hearing shots and seeing two speeding vehicles in the area. The assault rifle was recovered nearby and the abandoned car that authorities linked to Ortega was found near a bridge.

The bullet that hit the White House window was stopped by ballistic glass. The Secret Service did not disclose the location of the second bullet, saying only that it "was found on the exterior of the White House."

The White House has been targeted before. In September 1994 a Maryland man, distraught over a domestic breakup, stole a small plane and crashed it onto the South Lawn near a wall of the West Wing.

And just seven weeks later a Colorado man who was angry with President Clinton pulled an assault rifle from his trench coat and sprayed the front of the White House with 20 to 30 shots.

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